Position Play in Carom Billiards as a Markov Process

Mathieu Bouville 1
  • 1 Institute of Materials Research and Engineering

Position play is a key feature of carom billiards: on easy shots, players can manage to score while ensuring that the next position will be favorable. The difficulty of a shot therefore depends on the previous shot; e.g., an easy shot generally follows an easy shot. We introduce a Markov process that accounts for such correlations. This model can explain the long series of easy shots and the high scores that ensue. It can also identify differences in the scoring patterns of players at different skill levels. Players can use this model via the web page http://billiards.mathieu.bouville.name/biMar/.

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JQAS, an official journal of the American Statistical Association, publishes research on the quantitative aspects of professional and collegiate sports. Articles deal with subjects as measurements of player performance, tournament structure, and the frequency and occurrence of records. Additionally, the journal serves as an outlet for professionals in the sports world to raise issues and ask questions that relate to quantitative sports analysis.